Climate change impacts on agriculture in Mekong Delta

Agriculture is an important sector of Vietnam especially the Mekong Delta, considered as the 'Rice bowl' of Vietnam; however, climate change and drought have made serious impacts on agriculture in the region.
A paddy field in Chau Thanh District in Tra Vinh Province in the Mekong Delta (Photo: SGGP)
A paddy field in Chau Thanh District in Tra Vinh Province in the Mekong Delta (Photo: SGGP)

With the area of 3.94 million hectare, the Mekong Delta is known as the “biggest rice basket” in Vietnam and leading in rice, fruit and aquatic exports.

Lately, the region’s agriculture has been bad affected by climate and extreme weather; accordingly, it is urgent to find out orientation for sustainable growth to adapt with nature.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s statistics has shown that the Mekong Delta’s total revenue of agricultural products in 2019 was over US$8.5 billion accounting for 20.1 percent of the country.

Chairman of People’s Committee in Dong Thap Province Nguyen Van Duong said that agriculture plays a significant role in the province’s economic growth; therefore, the province has pioneered re-structuring the sector for years to adapt to the new situation. Dong Thap authority defined five key products for exports including rice, ornamental flower, mango, tra fish and duck.

The province has linked with other enterprises to open market and cut production cost. Hi-tech agriculture and smart agriculture models have been implemented to help opening new way. Therefore, from early 2020, the province’s planting sector reaped more than VND13,176 billion (more than US$ 567 million), a year-on-year increase of VND508 billion.

Chairman of People’s Committee of An Giang Province Nguyen Thanh Binh said farmers in the province annually plant more than 625,000 hectares of rice; over 54,700 hectares of various vegetables; 18,000 hectares of fruits and 532,000 tons of fish.

Farmers are encouraged to adopt VietGAP standard and high technologies to increase quality and value of produce. As a result, the province’s agriculture-forestry -fishery sector has seen a leap of 2.65 percent more than the goal.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in the region said that despite implemented solutions for battle of drought and salinity, approximately 41,900 hectares of paddy field of winter-spring crop and 6,650 hectare of orchards were damaged plus thousands of hectares of vegetables and more than 8,715 hectares of fish were destroyed.

Furthermore, 96,000 households lack of fresh water for daily activities, landslides and erosion have been rampant in the Mekong Delta.

Leaders of Ca Mau Province, at Vietnam's southern tip, petitioned the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and related state competent agencies to research and adjust production planning in the province to suit the new situation.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the adaptation of the Mekong Delta to climate changes and market changes heavily relies on natural resources, human and application of technology and science.

In the next time, processing and trade development should be top priority in the agricultural chain while technologies will be applied in seedlings, food and processing.